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No. 303/08 | Berlin, 12.12.2008

Gabriel: Europe remains leader in climate protection

Agreement in Brussels on climate package

Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has welcomed the agreement reached by the European heads of state and government on the EU climate package. "In view of the difficult economic framework conditions, this is a good result for climate and industrial policy. The decision ensures that Europe will reach its climate protection target", Minister Gabriel commented at the Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland. Europe would continue to play a leading role in international climate protection. "The EU is sending a signal for the international negotiations on a follow-up regime to the Kyoto Protocol. Now other countries have to follow suit", Minister Gabriel stated.

With this decision taken by the heads of state and government, the European climate protection targets adopted under the German Presidency in March last year are being underpinned with concrete measures – based on the overall package presented by the Commission on 23 January 2008.

Emissions trading is at the core of the package. As of 2013 operators of power plants will have to buy 100 percent of their emission allowances at auction. Economically less advanced member states in Eastern Europe will be granted a transition period for existing installations. As of 2020, however, operators of power plants in these countries will also have to buy all their allowances at auction. Member states may give investment subsidies of up to 15 percent of the total investment sum for the renewal of the power plant portfolio. This is limited to the period 2013 to 2016 to speed up the construction of highly efficient power plants.

Due to the precarious economic situation the burden placed on industrial installations will be extremely moderate. This rather generous arrangement is to avoid production being shifted to countries outside of the European Union because of emissions trading.

The agreement also provides a clear financial perspective for the construction of 12 pilot plants for carbon capture and storage: 200 million allowances can be used until the end of 2015 to promote these so-called CCS facilities.

Moreover, the share of renewable energies will increase to 20 percent of final energy consumption by 2020. This will be a significant contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe.

The agreement reached in the so-called "trialogue" is subject to approval by the member states and by the European Parliament.

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